Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks July 23, 2012 - 8:58pm

Something I've always found interesting are the ways people define their political beliefs. I was friends with a girl for years who called herself a Republican but believed in welfare, gay rights, and fought harder for public school music programs than anyone I know. I'm pretty sure the only "Republican" belief she had was that global warming was a hoax, and when I asked her to explain, she said it's "man-made." I had a substitute teacher in high school who was always eager to call herself a pragmatist and would actually try to declare that when asked for her party when she went to vote.

So if you were asked by a stranger to define your political beliefs, what would you say? Do you ever feel the need to quickly explain that even though you, say, define yourself as a democrat, you support tax cuts for the rich, or do you feel like you lean heavily enough to one side that a single departure matters?

This is also quiet research for a story.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books July 23, 2012 - 9:11pm

I don't affiliate. I don't feel any of the parties (third parties or otherwise) represent me fully. When asked to define my political stance, I will often say "I am a liberal" but that's annoying because a lot of people think I mean "Democrat", which I am not. 

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading July 23, 2012 - 9:14pm

I have my "this world" politics and my "if change were possible and even likely in the near future" politics.

For the former: I tend to have instinctively aggressive, almost fascistic reactions to things. I hate collective work in most cases. I hero-worship the great dead people of the past. I don't like crowds of people. I don't like bureaucracy. Having said that, I veer toward the left when I vote, simply because when I try to be honest with myself, I just think mild or moderate leftism is generally a more attractive vision of what this world, at this point is time, might be with a bit of effort.

If there weren't so many racist, sexist, homophobic dickheads in rightist politics, and if we could finally remove the idea of the "free market" as led by its own mysterious rules from public discourse, I'd be more comfortable with that group of people.

Racism, sexism, these are things that bother me more the older I get. I can't associate with the most awful breed of bigots — I can't take them seriously as thinkers.

I have — and still am, at this very moment in Hong Kong — worked in the same room as some of the world's best bankers. They are mostly friendly, slightly naive people who think that "giving back" is how you make up for capitalist damage...

Which would bring me to my "other" poliics, for another world. But I'll hold off on that for now.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks July 23, 2012 - 9:21pm

What exactly about the Democrat vibe do you dislike, Renee?

And Phil -- I think I'm still too young to have a separate set of politics for "what I want the world to be" because I'm still naive enough to think that maybe, with education and work, we can get there. I've never voted (and I probably can't because I don't have an ID, which is close to being required in Indiana) but always leaned heavily to the left (to the point that I unironically call myself a socialist). Do you think that jadedness lends itself to your divergence or do you think it's just realistic?

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 23, 2012 - 9:48pm

This is a tough question, Courtney.  I think it gets dangerous when people pigeonhole themselves into one group, because they are then saying that certain beliefs of theirs are more important than others.

When I first was legally allowed to vote, I voted for Clinton.  I had always been told that Democrats were better than Republicans, so I followed that ideal.  The next election, I voted for Nader, because he was the closest to my own personal beliefs.  I got shit on forever for that, because idiot Democrats said I cost them the election. 4 years later, I wrote Nader in, and watched as my ballot got set in a box to the side which, I assume, was thrown away.  I was actually asked "Are you serious?" by a poll worker.  A friend of mine also wrote Nader in that year, at the very same voting station, and told me how her ballot was handled completely different from mine.  

I get very tired of the "liberal" idea that we can't vote for a 3rd party yet because "this" election is too important.  I think the only way we will ever have change is if we stick to what we believe in and "vote our conscience," as opposed to the "lesser of two evils."  

So as far as the "liberal" and the "conservative" branches are concerned, I say they are both the same.  Pat Buchanan has just as many positive points as Barack Obama or John McCain, but I personally would never vote for any one of them.  

I hate that "liberals" have become the pretentious party who tries to say the others are all ignorant, backwoods hicks.  I hate that the "right-wing" has become the party that caters to the less-informed, while calling the others "elitist."  Both the Democrats and Republicans have essentially become the same party. I know this will piss people off, but what were the differences between Obama and McCain?  Really?

My thought is vote with your dollar.  Hate what corporate America has done to your small town?  Don't shop at Walmart anymore.  Don't go to any big box store, no matter what discounted price they give you.  Shop independent.  That's the only time your "vote" actually matters anyway.

The only thing we all can do is try and make a change for the better in our immediate circle.  But if we all kept trying to do this, we would see a change so much faster than any rich politician could ever bring.

ReneeAPickup's picture
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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books July 23, 2012 - 10:13pm

What exactly about the Democrat vibe do you dislike, Renee?

It's not about the vibe, it is about the party. If I register as a Democrat then I am aligning myself with all of their beliefs and implying my support for all of their candidates, and that simply isn't something I am willing to do. For instance, Obama has done some things as POTUS that I am very happy about, but he's done some things that make my stomach turn. Then, you go out in the world and you say "I am a Democrat" and people go, "Well what about the Defense Authorization Act?" and you go "Well, I think it's a steaming pile of shit." They say, "Well that was a Democrat. You're a Democrat."

So I don't say that, not on my voter registration, not to my peers, not in my head. I don't want to ally myself with a political party because I despise politics and I rarely (if ever) agree with a party platform 100%, and I am disenchanted with our two party system.

ReneeAPickup's picture
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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books July 23, 2012 - 10:16pm

I get very tired of the "liberal" idea that we can't vote for a 3rd party yet because "this" election is too important.  I think the only way we will ever have change is if we stick to what we believe in and "vote our conscience," as opposed to the "lesser of two evils."

That actually really irritates me as well, especially when you consider that a major motivation for Nader's campaign was to get enough of the popular vote to challenge the two party system. People who agreed with him, and were also tired of the two-party system still caved in and voted Democrat because they wanted to "win".

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin July 23, 2012 - 10:19pm

I consider myself a Libertarian Socialist.

It's like... a statist form of anarcho-syndicalism.

But if I were to start a political party I would call them the Whigs.

ReneeAPickup's picture
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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books July 23, 2012 - 10:21pm

Me and a few of my friends registered under "Pppphhhbbbt!" for a few years. The idea was "don't vote party lines, and make up your own mind". I think at the height of our popularity we had ten members. All because my boyfriend (at the time) and I had decided it would be funny to register under an onomatopoeia.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks July 23, 2012 - 10:24pm

That was super insightful, Sean. My mom got the same reaction when she voted for Nader -- it's frustrating to see people who are "on your side" more than the other party ridicule and debase you for following your conscience. However, isn't it possible that there is a certain amount of realism in the "you lost us the election" furor? Not that they're being fair or right, but that, given the choice, a Nader fan will most likely align themselves with Gore than Bush and, had they done so, may have saved us from Bush. Or is it unexcusable to go for second best or the lesser of two evils when you can follow your personal beliefs?

And of course there are differences between McCain and Obama, but I see where they cease to matter in a lot of ways. "New boss, same as the old boss," and everything. My main issue with saying they're the same is the same reason I didn't agree with the "when people pigeonhole it's dangerous" comment because, in reality, you form political beliefs for a reason, and you're definitely likely to believe your view is more important than someone elses'. I definitely believe that in a lot of ways -- I think women have more of a right to discuss abortion than men (I'm not saying that if a man wants to raise his kid the woman is justified in aborting it, or anything like that, just that the right to choose needs to be decided by women and not men), I think that welfare should be decided by the working poor, I think that defense should be decided by level-minded military members. I have a lot of issues with defense spending, but I don't think my opinion matters as much as a humane, intelligent officer. Isn't it dangerous to enter the world of politics without believing that, in some ways, your opinion is more important than others, because you choose your beliefs based on what you consider right?

Renee, that makes sense. That's why I asked if anyone would quickly amend their "I'm a Republican" statement to say "Oh, but I believe in gay rights." We've gotten to a time where both parties have a nasty connotation that drag us down and make both sides look like shit because, in reality, that's what they are most of the time.

You raised another interesting point by saying you haven't always agreed with Obama. Because I'm so young, my main experience with politics has been a president I almost never disagree with and have supported fully. Oh, I remember disliking Bush as a kid because my mom watched Michael Moore documentaries and I'd hide behind the couch to watch, but it was never with an active political mind that I could back up with reasonable proof. I've felt the dislike on a smaller level, because Mitch Daniels is my governor, but really -- how do you deal with it when you disagree? Is it a feeling of helplessness or anger or is it a taste of fear at knowing that you can't change it, no matter how much you hate it?

ReneeAPickup's picture
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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books July 23, 2012 - 10:30pm

Well, I deal with it with my vote or my activism.

Back to the Nader/Gore thing though--"saving us" from Bush is a weird stance to take. I mean, I get how people see it, but if they agreed with Nader and agreed with his ideas about the two-party system, their votes could have "saved us" from still being a two party system. Nader knew he wasn't going to win. He wasn't asking to win. He was asking for a 10% vote. He wanted to get a third party into the system that is built to silence them. I'd rather be "saved" from that permanently than "saved" from Bush for 4 years. And you can't blame Nader for his second term, can you?

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 23, 2012 - 10:35pm

@SparrowStark: I looked as Nader as someone who could back up what he had to say with previous actions that proved he cared.  In an election race of Gore v. Bush v. Nader, only one of them had ever done anything, I mean really done anything, that made America better.  That was Nader.  And it made me really sad that so many people who backed him because it seemed the right "Hollywood" thing to do, suddenly backed off and, 4 years later, gave him shit for running again.  This is why I think Michael Moore is lame (among others).  

On one hand, I wonder what would have happened if Ralph Nader had been allowed to debate in the nationally-televised presidential debates. Would people have realized that this guy actually cares about the well-being of all of us, whether we are republican or democrat?  Or would he have been written off as the crazy guy, just as Kucinich or Paul or whoever else you want to throw out there who stood against the corporate majority and spoke his mind.  

A sidenote, I really wish I could say "who stood against the corporate majority and spoke his/her mind," but it seems that America is still a little confused by the fact that our president is not an anglo-saxon male.  Maybe one day?  I sincerely hope that I live to see that day.

cosmo's picture
cosmo July 23, 2012 - 10:48pm

I'm either an alcoholic or a socialist.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 23, 2012 - 10:56pm

@Courtney: I didn't lose anyone the election by voting for Nader.  My vote was for Ralph Nader, and he lost, which meant I lost.  It honestly wasn't a vote away from the other two jerks.  If Nader hadn't been running, I don't know that I would have voted.  I refuse to vote for a "lesser of two evils."  The former singer of the Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra, proposed the idea that, if we don't really like either of the 2 major candidates in the presidential election, instead of voting for the "lesser of two evils," we get another box that we can fill in which says "No Confidence."  His thought being that if the 2 people up for president are both complete jerks, and if enough people recognize this, we can say No, this is our country, and we want a different option.  

I didn't vote last time, when it was Obama v. McCain.  Because I see them as the same person.  As human beings, sure, there are tons of differences.  But when it comes to a presidential race, regarding the important things I cared about, both of these rich people thought the same way.  NAFTA? Both supported it.  Gay marriage? Both opposed it (at the time).  I think that George W Bush would be fun as hell to hang out with.  Honestly!  He seems like a funny guy.  But that doesn't mean I'd ever decide that he is a great person to run our country.  

I think the problem we have in America is that elections are still set up for privileged people.  Think about it.  Outside of election campaign ads, what information do you have readily available to you to help you make the "right" decision?  It's hard to find out what these people believe, no matter how skilled you are on your high-speed internet with Google searches and access to governmental databases that show you how they voted in important decisions.  And that's just us, the "privileged" minority.  How is some 60+ hour a week working, single mother of 3 in rural Arkansas, with no home computer, supposed to get the accurate info on what the 2 candidates stand for?  She doesn't have time to go to the library on her lunch break and spend hours on an internet search to scroll through a congressional vote and see how candidate A or candidate B voted that day.  All she has is easy access to what the bullshit campaign ads tell her.  What the slanderous channel 5 ads say.  What Fox News says.  What Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity tells her.

We're in a sorry state as far as our elected officals goes.  We have everything at our fingertips, but yet no simple info that gives us a black and white picture of who the two (and hopefully one day more than two) candidates for "leader of the free world" stand for.

 

 

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 23, 2012 - 10:56pm

@Cosmo, I think I'm both

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 23, 2012 - 10:58pm

ooooh, sorry, one last thing: Courtney, as far as the "we lost the election for Gore" idea, look back to see how the majority voted.  Gore won.  I'm not saying that as a democrat, or as someone who likes Gore at all (I can't stand him).  But the facts show, Gore won the popular vote.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 23, 2012 - 11:07pm

Courtney & Sparrow, I wish we were sitting together at a table with drinks (coffee or booze) in front of us so we could continue this discussion all night.  I appreciate both of you (and everyone else) throwing in your opinions.  It's something I'm very passionate about, and it's hard to talk across a webpage-based forum.  No matter if you agree with me or not, you both have my respect.

And if we were sitting at that table, you'd both see me wearing my Nader/LaDuke 2002 campaign t-shirt that I contributed my hard earned dollars for.  And I'd probably be slurring my words by now, but still very passionate about what I had to say, and very respectfully happy to be talking to both of you about it.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books July 23, 2012 - 11:10pm

I had a "Bush and Gore make me wanna Ralph" t-shirt. But I don't know what happened to it in my various moves. This is all really interesting for me as well, and a lot more fun in person than on the internet. At least when people are willing to talk to each other rather than argue AT each other.

With that, though, I cannot continue on all night. I'm exhausted.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin July 23, 2012 - 11:10pm

I remember when Badanarik lost in '04 I felt like I had lost. And then W had another four years of fame and power and it really felt like a loss.

That's why I work for the AFL-CIO now. It's much more gratifying to work on policy campaigns.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading July 23, 2012 - 11:13pm

What if the government... isn't on OUR side? Dude. Dude wake up. God damn it, man, wake up. Did you hear me? What if... what if our best interests are nobody's top priority? DAMN IT MAN, WAKE THE FUCK UP AND LISTEN TO THIS.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 23, 2012 - 11:17pm

@Fylh: I agree with you more more than you know...but getting into that turns this conversation into something completely different.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 23, 2012 - 11:19pm

and @Sparrow: I always want to hear about things/viewpoints I don't know much about.  I completely agree: in person is way better than internet, and respectful conversation is way better than just speaking to be heard.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading July 23, 2012 - 11:20pm

Haha, do you mean my "serious" post or the silly one just now?

I know what you mean, though, I think.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin July 23, 2012 - 11:42pm

Well, the ultimate problem there is a question of identification. What is it that compromises the government? Human beings of varying affiliations to various personal drives and loyalties.

When we look at it as a group or as a series of individuals, but in neither case can "the government" be said to be on "your side" in a meaningful way. When they go out to build roads I know that none of those people who are out there are doing it "because they have my back"

When your teachers were going through their lesson plans in school, it wasn't because they wanted to prepare you for the world, it's because that's how they got their paychecks.

When firefighters put out fires, when Policemen respond to calls, when politicians make promises or when Regulators catch those who perpetuate fraud, I understand that there is personal advancement on the line here and therefore none of the motives can be taken as genuine.

But among the varying loyalties there is at least some primitive notion that runs throughout every class that the system is storied and ancient, capable of adapting for the times and that it should be sustained and allowed to persist. That the benefits outweigh the costs. And we have 200 years of history to attest to that.

But if you want your government to be on your side when it makes the decisions that matter to you.

Well, you have to Occupy it.

Watch them scurry as they try to find a way to implement copyright reform without a legislature willing to vote on the issue.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne July 24, 2012 - 12:47am

I don't identify with anyone. No party accurately represents my beliefs, which are somewhere between conservative and liberal, to put it very roughly.

I'm not sure I really believe the act of voting actually does anything other than satisfying those snooty fuckers who say you can't have an opinion unless you vote, and that if you don't, clearly you're an anarchist or sociopath, or possibly a sociopathic anarchist, rather than just someone who has so utterly lost faith in the system and in society they no longer feel any desire to participate.

You can't fix a broken system through a hopelessly broken system. I worked for the government for a decade, and even though that was at the county level, it pretty much killed my outlook for things at the federal level. I realize most people just see this as jaded and pathetic, but it is what it is.

Species84's picture
Species84 from Fluidic space is reading UNIX a standard operating system (1985) by Austen & Thomassen July 24, 2012 - 2:07am

There comes a time in your life , i think , you have to choose your political side.  That is way I not only vote for 'my' party , i also became a member of it....  So here it is peoples:  the party of the animals.

From their website:   

We are a Dutch political party whose highest priority is animal welfare and the respectful treatment of animals. In the Netherlands, we are represented in the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Provincial States and in six city councils. That is unique: never before has a political party devoted to animal welfare been elected to a national parliament anywhere else in the world.  The Party for the Animals is the fastest growing political party in the Netherlands. We act as a ‘pacemaker’ in the parliament; in other words, we encourage the other political parties to move faster when it comes to animal welfare.
Ever since the establishment of the Party for the Animals, there has been a great deal of interest in the party abroad. That is why we have created this international website, which provides a lot of useful information. Each week Marianne Thieme, the leader of the Party for the Animals, will write a new worldlog about her experiences in politics. This worldlog will not only be available in English, but also in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Russian.
The Party for the Animals believes that animals should be given the rights that they deserve. Animal interests should no longer continually be subordinated to economic interests. Not just in the Netherlands, but also beyond. We would therefore like to join forces with kindred spirits in other countries. The more animal welfare parties that are set up across the globe, the better.

 

Thanks for reading/watching, see ya around everyone, bye :) 

Marius Hjelseth's picture
Marius Hjelseth from the frozen Norwegian tundra is reading Gomorrah July 24, 2012 - 2:24am

I'm a fascist bolshevik libertarian hippie. In other word quite fickle. 

In all seriousness, I don't identify with any political direction, because I live my life in mortal fear of ideologies of any kind. I subscribe to the idea that if you believe in anything strongly enough, you will be willing to hurt others in the name of that cause. If I ever try to write a dystopian vision of the future, it will be to condemn the very concept of ideology. 

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters July 24, 2012 - 5:05am

I'm a registered democrat and very socially liberal.  I'm fiscally moderate I'd say.  I do see areas of waste in our government and I see programs that need to be re-worked.  I am not of the mind that, oh look at all these confusing regulations, let's eliminate them ALL!!!  Because I don't really like that sort of extreme reaction.  But I also don't look at a program and say, this doesn't work, let's add more and more regulations!!  Those seem to be the two camps and I find this bothersome. 

When you mentioned in the op that your friend was Republican but believed in those hippie ideas you mentioned, I wanted to remark on that...and I shall.  She very well CAN be Republican and think that, she's just a moderate Republican (I call them common sense Republicans), not a conservative. 

Third party votes.  Bah.  Yes and no.  At this point in history, I don't think they do anything but split the vote and the best they can hope for is to swing the vote to one candidate or the other.  Please do not make a mistake in believing that our third party candidates don't know that.  At this point, there is no radical call to action to inspire an upheaval in the system, and that is what would be required.

 

 

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks July 24, 2012 - 7:49am

Maybe the issue isn't "saving" us from Bush but rather leading us onto a path that may have made the liberals who bashed Nader supporters more comfortable. There are people who think that '00 was the wrong year to take a stand for third-party candidates because of what was at stake, but it's all in hindsight -- they may have been indignant that Bush won the larger states, but today, they're reeling over the fact that "their" candidate was somehow betrayed by Nader and that Bush was such a catastrophe that we can blame Nader's fans to feel better.

I think that the most interesting thing about political affiliations is that when sociologists plot them on the linear graph that gives us "far right" and "extreme left," socialism is at the very end of the left and communism is at the very end of the right, but they are (and I will admit it) very similar in theory.

The divides aren't all that large. Both sides are for killing someone, they just can't decide whether it's fetuses or convicted murderers. They both want the poor to start working again, but they can't decide who should get the tax break incentives.

Avery, I always thought "Okay, she's a Republican, just not very far right. She's a moderate, right?" but every time we mentioned something she always sided with Democrats, but wouldn't be caught dead calling herself that -- she lived in a mansion, had two cultured, well-educated parents, and they had driven into her that conservatism was the only "right" was to live. I truly think it's just image in her case.

I don't really have anything against third party candidates, but I am one of the assholes who wish they'd shut up sometimes -- until we get the desire to really change the system, our energy needs to be directed towards fixing the one we have. Taking away the electoral college so the citizens get the president they want. Looking for ways to fix voter fraud (which, for the record, is it like .0001%) that doesn't hold the working poor (me) back from voting. There are only so many things we can do at a time and, because I'm as far left as you can get, it's not hard for me to find a candidate to support.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters July 24, 2012 - 8:05am

"Both sides are for killing someone, they just can't decide whether it's fetuses or convicted murderers."

I call bullshit on that.  No one is PRO abortion.  That's silly.

 

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin July 24, 2012 - 9:01am

Obama has ordered more unmanned drone assasinations than Bush.

Species84's picture
Species84 from Fluidic space is reading UNIX a standard operating system (1985) by Austen & Thomassen July 24, 2012 - 9:05am

Wauw i could not have tought the US2000elections are still being discussed here...  Interesting.... 

@Marius: In all serieusness, your opinion also represents a political ideology.  And also because you distant yourself from politics and ridicule it others will make (dis)advantage of it.....   So why not join the Norwegian social-democratic movement , i heard they were looking for new members?  (sorry , bad joke) :)  .....

@Courtney :  You are working poor.... that is just sad. I am sorry for you... i mean it.  Its that nasty liberal vibe, nowadays all around us, which is to blame for that i think. Good luck with that.  

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like July 24, 2012 - 9:13am

Technocratic Populist / Benevolent Plutocrat

cosmo's picture
cosmo July 24, 2012 - 9:14am

My brain asplodes.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated July 24, 2012 - 9:51am

I am against the government doing almost anything. The government is at best a necessary evil. I mean that literally. It is evil to put people in prison or fight a war, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. I just don't trust any government's competence and if at all possible want them out of things.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like July 24, 2012 - 10:55am

My brain asplodes.

That's item 1 on my agenda: compulsory brain asplosions.

.'s picture
. July 24, 2012 - 11:51am

I hate food stamps, religious groups, congress, big corporations, illegal aliens, high interest student loans, reverse discrimination, discrimination, homeland security laws, the tea party, the UN, Sarah Palin, Anderson Cooper, liberal media, Fox news, gun control, the drinking age, public intoxication and public nudity laws. 

Nothing to do with politics but there is a list of things I hate. 

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters July 24, 2012 - 12:14pm

I hate licorice.  It's of the devil.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 24, 2012 - 12:54pm

Registered Democrat, but I am fiscally more conservative and socially more liberal. I might lean Libertarian.

I think the government spends too much money, we have too much debt, there are way too many abusing social programs for personal gain, that we need a strong military at home, rather than overseas doing the bidding of whatever country is the UN's adopted child that day, and that public service should be rewarded.

I could care less if they legalize drugs. As far as I am concerned, let the junkies weed themselves out. It's natural selection.

I don't think the church should have anything to say about government, but that the government should stay out of my religion. I don't think I have a right to tell a woman she has to keep an unwanted pregnancy. It's none of my business if gay people want to get married. They can't fuck it up any worse than most straight people I know. Why keep the misery to ourselves?

The arts should be important and education should center on interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on learning and application, not regurgitation of pointless facts for standardized tests. We should save the rain forests, recycle what we can, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and on other countries, in general.

I also think we should leave businesses alone and I'll be damned if anyone is going to take away my gun and my ability to protect my home, my son, and myself.

I believe group identity politics has surged out of control and what group you are in now seems to trump rational individual beliefs. Rather than all be Americans, we are all part of little miniature special interest groups, and that makes me said.

I also have no faith in the poltical system as it is currently functioning and believe that poltical parties need disolved because party affiliation has become more important than actual arguments.

 

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks July 24, 2012 - 1:14pm

"I call bullshit on that.  No one is PRO abortion.  That's silly."

Hey, you never know. I am VERY pro abortion. I hate babies and don't think anyone should ever have a kid. (Actually, I was reading tweets tagged with #liberalbumperstickers and I thought that line was funny. "it's okay to kill unborn children but not convicted rapists" or something like that)

"Obama has ordered more unmanned drone assasinations than Bush."

New boss, same as the old boss. I'm also really curious about the unmanned drone thing -- do people hate it because it takes out the humanity in war? I would have thought liberals (whom I usually hear most angry about it) to at least be happy it wasn't people putting themselves at risk. I don't have much of an opinion on it and I don't want to sound uneducated, so I'm honestly curious.

"You are working poor.... that is just sad. I am sorry for you... i mean it.  Its that nasty liberal vibe, nowadays all around us, which is to blame for that i think. Good luck with that."

I don't know if this is sarcasm or not. If it isn't: don't feel sorry for me, but I work my ass off for my money and I'm still below the poverty line, whether I live on my own, with my parents, or with my sister. Our income still doesn't make it and it isn't because we're stupid -- I got recruited by Harvard, turned them down because I don't have the money -- and it isn't because we're lazy, we all work at least thirty-two hours a week. The best book I've ever read was a sociological study of the working poor and it was completely politically-neutral, but proved that poverty is caused by too many factors to blame it on laziness, liberals, conservatives, or anything else. If it is... ignore what I just said, I guess?

"I am against the government doing almost anything."

I can't figure out if this thread is a political debate or a declaration of beliefs, but I disagree. I think we need more government, not less. I believe in the innate goodness of man, but that society corrupts. If we didn't have a law against stealing, I'd be one of the first to steal, not because I'm bad, but because I need.

"I hate licorice.  It's of the devil."

Fuck licorice. It tastes like burnt rubber to me.

"I'll be damned if anyone is going to take away my gun and my ability to protect my home, my son, and myself."

I like what you said and I agree with most of it, but do you realize that having a gun makes you 4.5x more likely to get shot? Also, do you believe that being a registered Democrat but being fiscally conservative means that, to you, social values are more indicative of party than fiscal values?

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 24, 2012 - 1:50pm

Social values, to me, are more important than fiscal values because they have the biggest effect on people as people. Fiscal values affect people's lives, obviously, but social values affect their humanity.

As far as the gun thing, I am a police officer. There are people out there who would kill me just for that. Some have flat out told me they were going to. My son shouldn't have to pay a price for my profession. Also, if I was somewhere and something like the Aurora shooting happened, and I was not in a position to act, I would have a hard time forgiving myself.

I'm not the guy carrying a gun to make himself feel more manly that thinks pointing it at someone will make them stop. I don't see it as a license to put myself in bad situations. I train constantly and I am always aware of my surroundings. Other than at work, I am probably less likely to be shot than the average person.

At this point, even if I was no longer a police officer, I would own a gun. The average person becomes unable to defend himself in an all out fight at under three minutes. The average police emergency response time is more than that. Unless someone sees the crime before it happens, the police are probably not going to be able to save you. We'll try, but more often than not, we are there after the fact.

If you have a gun, you should know how to use it. If you don't, you should have some other emergency devices, such as a lightswitch that turns on all the lights in the house. Alarm systems aren't necessarily you friend because they tend to tie up your phone line.

Personally, I train in Krav Maga, Khali, Kickboxing, and Jiu Jitsu. I have a few guns, all small enough to conceal, a few knives, and a couple of sticks throughout the house. I don't go looking for trouble, but if it comes to find me, I'm ready for it.

I'm not trying to sound like a gun nut or anything like that, but my job has given me a bit of perspective on what sort of things people are capable of doing.

 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books July 24, 2012 - 2:49pm

I actually think the stats about people getting shot with their own weapons comes from the strange ideas many people have about guns. Don't have a gun in your home for protection if you are unable or unwilling to use it. Showing a criminal who is desperate or brave enough to break into your home with you there a gun will not convince them to leave peacefully. There is a weird idea in the US that guns have some sort of magic, mystical power. They don't.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks July 24, 2012 - 4:03pm

I think that's where my aversion comes from, Renee. While I completely understand wanting to carry a gun due to your profession -- and that gives me an entirely different view on your thoughts, Jack -- I think people need to remember that waving a gun in a criminal's face is pointless unless you intend to use it. A lot of people have guns because they think that they'll never have to use it, as long as they have it, because they can scare people off.

As for the fiscal v. social -- I definitely agree that the social views impact people more. The thing is, a lot of fiscal views translate to social ones -- believing in welfare means you feel strongly about the plight of poor people, etc. I think it's difficult to separate the two sometimes and it's interesting to see how many people truly assosciate themselves with the social side.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 24, 2012 - 4:23pm

The movies don't help matters as far as guns. In the movies and on TV, when someone is shot, they drop dead. In real life, you may not know they are shot, they may not know they've gotten shot, and even if you have hit them in the heart, they will have a few seconds before they bleed out, which can be an eternity if they have a knife.

It's definitely something you have to be willing to use. If you aren't willing to pull the trigger, it will just be taken away and used against you.

I do think the fiscal and the social sometimes affect each other, but at this point, we have such a massive deficit that there will eventually have to be fiscal changes. The debt gets worse and worse and there seems to be no end in sight.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks July 24, 2012 - 5:03pm

Have you ever seen the Cracked article about gun myths everyone believes because of movies? It's honestly sad. I wasn't raised around guns but was given a healthy education when it came down to it, thankfully, but it's scary that so many people see guns as, well, safe objects. They're dangerous. No one denies that. We just live in a culture where dangerous objects are seen as safe because they're so prevalent. People are even calling it a disease now -- seeing gun violence makes you, somehow, more likely to commit gun-related violent acts. It's scary. Just like sex education needs reformed, gun education does, too.

I'm vaguely optimistic about the deficit. The ACA will go a long way -- in the long-term -- to reducing it. We've racked up incredible medical bills because my mom was laid-off when I was ten -- right around the time my sister was hospitalized multiple times for drugs, suicide attempts, and car wrecks, and my dad for work-related injuries -- and we were foreclosed on twice/declared bankruptcy twice. I can personally see the benefits of getting most people insured, because it leads to less defaults on loans.

But then again, other than that, there's basically nothing being done to reduce it. So we're fucked.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated July 24, 2012 - 5:04pm

@Court - When was the last time the government solved a problem?

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin July 24, 2012 - 7:41pm


New boss, same as the old boss. I'm also really curious about the unmanned drone thing -- do people hate it because it takes out the humanity in war? I would have thought liberals (whom I usually hear most angry about it) to at least be happy it wasn't people putting themselves at risk. I don't have much of an opinion on it and I don't want to sound uneducated, so I'm honestly curious.

Well, let me put it like this. Let's say that you are a soldier in Afghanistan. Someone shoots at you! You shoot back. You kill them. That's war.

Let's say, on the other hand that you're in America. And you've heard about this guy in Pakistan, and word on the street is that he might try to shoot at you one day. So you fire up your drone machine and you send it into a sovreign country without declaring war in order to murder their citizens without anything approaching due process.

Now, let's say that not only are you doing this (which is obviously something different than example 1), but that on top of all of that your drones USUALLY MISS. They kill a ton of women, children, civilians. Now, you can avoid the reprecussions in the press if you say "Nah, those were all enemy combatants" but at the end of the day drone strikes represent the murder of civilians without any due process at random.

-

Dwight, well, there was that Nazi problem, I remember the US Government solved that Nazi problem. I'm pretty sure they solved the Great Depression at the same time. I think that the federal government ended segregation in the south, but I'm not sure on that one. And then of course there are the roads. And then there's the police and stuff, you know, I like to know that I won't be beset by barbarian raiders on my way home from work. But those barbarian raiders stay off the radar... because we have police and the national guard.

Hell, if we didn't have those I'm pretty sure I'd feel tempted to throw my lot in with barbarian raiders. We would come to your house and steal all your stuff, rape your horses and ride off on your women.

Ask Somalia about your Anarchist Paradise.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 11, 2013 - 2:36pm

Like I said a necessary evil, therefore Somila doesn't relate to any claim I've made.

The Great Depression being fixed by the government is at best debateable. 

As for the police and the military (and to a lesser degree contract enforcement), that is my point. The only time the government can solve a problem ,(and it isn't a massive debate on if they solved it) is when something needs broken or people need killed. The government is really good at breaking things, disrupting people's lives, and forcing them to take actions they don't want. I'm not saying that the vast majority of those who they do that to don't have it coming or there aren't some very heroic actions in the process, but it is breaking something that needs broken not building anything.

 

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne July 24, 2012 - 8:34pm

Does anyone else have a tremendous urge to make a clam joke?

It's a fair point, though. I don't know if you can make it quite such a blanket statement as that, but most things the government tries to build are stopgap measures, band-aids. In my lifetime it seems a lot of those have begun to rapidly unravel. Dwayne's assessment doesn't seem too far off. If you're talking about a cure, a real fix, unless they can blow it up or put it in prison, you're probably out of luck (and even those are debatable, I guess).

.'s picture
. July 24, 2012 - 8:35pm

"I can't figure out if this thread is a political debate or a declaration of beliefs, but I disagree."

We're just waiting for a debate and then a discussion on kittens. 

 

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks July 24, 2012 - 9:11pm

Nick, that's all very true. In reality, though, your first point -- that you shoot, they shoot back, and THAT'S war -- is too humane for war. I'm staunchly anti-war because it's so inhumane. Supporting war requires the belief that the other country is the enemy and therefore does not deserve humane treatment, because war kills and deprives, and neither of those are humane treatment. So drones follow the pattern of war well. I was unaware that they missed frequently, which obviously makes me against drones for the same reason it makes me against war: innocent people die. Really, though, drones are war: something that literally cannot be stopped and takes out innocent people as it goes.

Dwayne, Michael; I see where you're coming from. The thing is, those stop-gap measures work. Short-term, sure, but they work. The problem is that we don't always have time to wait. There were two ways to end segregation: bussing or tearing down the walls between races built by class and social warfare. Did we really have time to wait? Bussing was an imperfect solution, but a solution.

The government worked when they gave me free birth control simply because I was poor. It stops the economically disadvantaged from digging themselves deeper into a hole (and don't give me that bullshit about not having sex -- fuck that. If the rich can fuck indiscriminately, I should get the same privilege. The difference is that I don't abuse it and fuck football teams. I'm monogamous and probably cost less in health care than the withered, rich women who take birth control and get STDs. But I digress.)

The government worked when they gave me so much money in student aid (grants, no less) that a student with a 2010 SAT score (achieved while living in a hotel with no preparation) and no money for college can have their entire tuition paid in free money, not loans, and be prepared to go on to law school without racking up literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

The government worked when they allowed us to put a referendum on the local ballot for more money for my school, which passed. The government worked when they built the public school. The government worked when they offered free lunch to poor kids.

The government works better on a small scale, sure, but it sure fucking works sometimes.